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Google’s $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility may be about mobile devices and patent protection, but it may also help both company’s set-top strategy. Google owns You Tube while Motorola Mobility owns cable infrastructure products such as SURFboard settop boxes and cable modems.

Motorola knows what consumers want and what cable operators need. Google TV, with Google Chrome and Adobe Flash, lets you access everything on the web. It comes pre-loaded with apps like Netflix, Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Napster, NBA Game Time, and Amazon Instant Video. Apps from Android Market will work on Google TV.

Google’s “WebM Project” is built around VP8 compression.

Google claims that WebM compression can deliver 720p video to the home around 800Mbps. Video to a tablet and settop has lots of advantages. Personalized advertising, for example, could be huge.

Mobile TV standards include DVB-SH and China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting. They use OFDM, unlike the embarrassing and inefficient ATSC M/H system. EchoStar (Dish) also spent $711 million to purchase 168 of the 176 available Block E licenses of unpaired spectrum in the 700 MHz band. While MediaFLO was a bust for mobile video, the unpaired 6MHz band could also be useful for downloading ebooks and magazines

Google needs one more piece — the last mile. Let’s look at some candidates:

  • Dish Networks. They’ have 20-40 Mhz available on the 2 GHz MSS band. A partnership between Sprint, Google and Dish could deliver the goods. Voice, video and data. Plus the NY Times and Time Inc. With embedded HTML-5.
  • White spaces. Unused television frequencies can go though walls. In partnership with power companies and municipalities (even Microsoft), municipal wireless networks could be built for 1/10th the cost of WiFi. Where 2.4GHz municipal networks require some 50 nodes per square mile ($100K/mile), White Spaces might need only one or two nodes ($10K).
  • Sprint’s TD-LTE. A “wireless cable” approach might require 20MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum. A partnership between Google, Amazon, DirecTV, and Sprint. A (fixed service) TD-LTE network can deliver 1000Mbps per sector and support 100, 10Mbps streams per sector, or 300 homes per tower. Inexpensive TD-LTE relays on streetlights fill in the gaps.

Google Catalogs features catalogs from retailers like Eddie Bauer and Urban Outfitters. Think of media tablets as a razor. The money is in the blades — content.

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